Category Archives: Turkey

Turkey’s YouTube Ban Is Cause For Concern

July 08, 2009

Very few people in Turkey are exercised by the YouTube blackout, now in its second year. Despite the ban, the video-sharing site is believed to be the ninth most popular site in Turkey. Almost every Internet user — from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the humblest teenage porn connoisseur — knows how to circumvent it with proxy browsers. “I get in,” Erdogan told reporters in November, 2008. “You can do so as well.”

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Subtergenekon and Other Crimes

In Turkey, alleged terrorism requires a brand-new vocabulary.

3 January 2012

George Orwell’s greatest act of genius was the invention of Newspeak, the official language of Oceania, devised to meet the ideological needs of “Ingsoc,” or English Socialism. Explaining the nature of a mass trial in Turkey likewise requires the construction of a language all its own.

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Supping Full with Horrors: A social evening with Turkish outcasts

April 23, 2012

I came back late at night from the Distinguished Physician’s special dinner party for minorities, Leftists, and persecuted journalists. His villa in Istanbul overlooks the once-picturesque cove of Tarabya on the European shore of the Bosphorus. It is still picturesque, if you look only to your right. Harold Nicolson wrote of this view:

“To the south, fringing the soft lip of the Marmora, another ruin; the frail façade of a palace on the shore. Three marble arches opening to the sea: the carved brackets of a fallen balcony, the waves below splashing on heavy capitals half-buried in the sand.

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Davos on Tour in Istanbul

June 8, 2012

The arrival of the World Economic Forum in Istanbul this week was overshadowed in the Turkish media by the arrival of Madonna and her entourage, although there was a symmetry in events—massive security, caravans of expensive cars with tinted windows, snarled traffic and cab drivers cursing them all. Tagging behind the Material Girl was her twenty-four-year-old lover, Brahim Zaibat; tagging behind Turkey’s mercurial prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas. In both cases, the pair looked every inch the happy couple.

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Turkey’s Sex, Lies and Videotapes

Gatestone Institute
June 26, 2012


The news from Turkey, journalists here always complain, comes so hard and fast that they just can’t keep up with it. The Supreme Court obviously decided to take pity on them last week by declaring war on porn. Now, they didn’t criminalize all porn—let’s not exaggerate here—but the Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that anyone in possession of videos depicting oral or anal sex may be sentenced to prison.

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Turkey: A Baffling 24 Hours In Istanbul

It’s now easier to get news from Mars than Hakkari

August 9, 2012

I confess freely that I’m finding it difficult to make sense of recent events in Turkey, and I submit that anyone offering a confident analysis is exaggerating either his access or his analytic acumen. There is obviously a great deal happening; but the people who understand it aren’t talking, and the people who are talking don’t understand it.

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A Phantom Wrapped in an Enigma Wrapped in a Riddle

Why we should worry about Turkey’s missing jet

August 11, 2012

It is apparently lore at the Economist that foreign correspondents have a shelf life of three years. After this, they know too much. They become too involved in the minutiae of local politics to explain a story to their domestic audience. Then, of course, there is the famous State Department “clientitis” problem—diplomats, it is said, need to be rotated out in roughly the same amount of time lest they begin to understand the host country’s point of view a bit too well.

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Who Is Fethullah Gülen?


Controversial Muslim preacher, feared Turkish intriguer—and “inspirer” of the largest charter school network in America.

With the American economy in shambles, Europe imploding, and the Middle East in chaos, convincing Americans that they should pay attention to a Turkish preacher named Fethullah Gülen is an exceedingly hard sell. Many Americans have never heard of him, and if they have, he sounds like the least of their worries.

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Anatomy Of A Power Struggle

December 19, 2012

While Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan needs no introduction, the Turkish imam Fethullah Gülen is probably the most important person you’ve never heard about. He is an immensely powerful figure in Turkey, and—to put it mildly—a controversial one. He is also an increasingly powerful figure globally. Today, there are between three and six million Gülen followers. Gülen leads the cemaat, an Islamic civil society movement, that has until now been critical to the electoral success of Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP). The cemaat is often described as Turkey’s Third Force—the other two being the AKP and the military.

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It’s History That’s Tearing the E.U. Apart

The Washington Post, June 2005

MOVE FROM AUSTERE Paris to this anarchic city as I have done this summer, and it’s hard to escape the conclusion that the idea of integrating Turkey into the European Union is and always has been ludicrous. Turkey is not Europe, and it is certainly not France.

I do not say this merely because the phones, electricity, hot water and front door lock have failed on me, serially, since my arrival, along with the Internet, refrigerator and stove.

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